Brian Blogs on SharePoint

Information, curiosities, and observations about SharePoint and the community.

SharePoint Saturday – Charlotte

Posted by Brian Gough on March 8, 2010

Things are really starting to pick up speed with the SharePoint Saturday event. 

We have some great speakers, great sponsors, and some real nice door prizes!

We will have at least one Zune HD.. maybe more…  🙂

Registration is open so be sure to sign up now as seats go fast and we have a limited amount of space.

Be sure to spread the word too.  this is a great opportunity for you to get your manager in front of people that help them understand the value of SharePoint better.

We will have content fro both 2007 and the Beta 2010 versions, so it will be a great time to see the new version and learn about its improvements.

 

Register for SPS Charlotte

 

Hope to see you there!!

 

Brian

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SharePoint Saturday – Charlotte

Posted by Brian Gough on February 1, 2010

Ahhhh… spring is in the air.. even if the temperature is in the teens at night here in Charlotte!

It must mean time for SharePoint Saturday!!  Yes, that excellent event for all things SharePointy ( new word for Websters Dictionary )  is coming back to charlotte, NC.

This year it will be on April 10, 2010 at the Central Piedmont Community College – Levin Campus.

Wiht all the buzz about the upcoming 2010 release, this event is sure to pack ‘em in.  this will be a great opportunity to get some answers on SharePoint 2007 as well as see and learn more about the 2010 release.  Tell your managers, CIO’s, developers, admins, and even end-users about this event.  There will be something for everyone!!

We still have openings for Presenters and Sponsors!

To get more information such as how to apply as a speaker or a sponsor, visit the site at http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/charlotte   you will find links there on how to apply, directions to the event etc…

I will be posting updates on the site as they happen.

 

See ya there!!

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SharePoint 2010 Beta Goes Public

Posted by Brian Gough on November 19, 2009

The much anticipated Office 2010 Public Betas are now available!!

If you wish to down load the SharePoint 2010 Beta’s go to the MSDN site and you will see them “front and center”.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/default.aspx

 

Enjoy!

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Sharing documents with ‘Restricted Read’

Posted by Brian Gough on November 16, 2009

I wanted to take a moment and share one way that you can let your team collaborate on documents and make them available to “end users” without having to copy the document somewhere else. After all, one of the primary goals we have is to reduce redundancy in our document storage right?

Well, depending on how SharePoint is implemented in your location there can be several scenarios. I will describe just one here in case it may help any of you.

In my scenario, the company has several levels to their hierarchy, the bottom two being Departments then Teams. The Teams will have their own site collection to use, but this “Team” site is NOT accessible by the masses in the company. They require that the team members work on documents and house them in their Team site. This is fine until the documents the team produces need to be made available to the masses. What then?

One way is to leverage the ‘Restricted Read’ permission. Users with this permission will be able to open a document in a library if given a direct link to the document. They will not be able to navigate to any of the pages for the library or the site itself.

Example: You have a document library called “Group Reports”. You can give a user ‘Restricted Read’ rights on that library,and when you give them a link to a specific document and they will be able to open it and read the document. However, they will not be able to view the AllItems.aspx page for “Group Reports” or any other system page.

This is how we make it work:

Create a SharePoint group or use the Visitors group and add the people to that group that should have this restricted access to the documents. If you want all employees to have this kind of access, you can use the “NT Authenticated Users” account or any AD Security Group if you wish. Make sure this Group does NOT have any access to the site itself. You can check this by looking at your ‘Site Permissions’ to see all the groups and users that have access to your site.

Now, to give that group restricted access to the document library… In the ‘Document Library Settings’, you want to click the link ‘Permissions for this document library’. Then under ‘actions’, select ‘Edit Permissions’. You will get a warning that you will no longer be inheriting permissions from the parent. This is what we want, so click OK.

Next we want to add the SharePoint group we created (or the Visitors group if that’s what you are using), and grant the group ‘Restricted Read’ access.

Now when any member of that group tries to access your site or the library itself, they will get the ‘Access Denied’ message. However, if you give them a direct link to one of the documents in the library, they will be able to open it just fine.

Now the team can have one place to work on all their content and still be able to deliver it to others without them having access to the whole site.

Other points of interest

If you use major and minor versioning, they will only see the last major version.

Whether you send the link via email, use a Content Query web part, or some 3rd party tool to pull the list of documents and render it someplace else, they should still only see the latest major version.

Again, this is just one scenario. What would be best for your particular environment may vary, but at least this may give you an idea or sense of possibilities you were not aware of before.

Good luck!

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SharePoint Saturday – Raleigh

Posted by Brian Gough on November 8, 2009

Well, another great community event was a rousing success.  Many thanks to Michael Lotter and Josh Carlisle for putting this together and making it happen.

We had a nice mix of SharePoint 2007 and got a look at different areas of 2010 as well.

Some great speakers and great participants made this a very worthwhile event.  I heard a lot of very positive feedback and folks were very appreciative of the speakers time and efforts.

Her are some pics from the event in case you want to see what you missed!  😉

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SharePoint Designer – 2010 – New AND Improved

Posted by Brian Gough on November 3, 2009

There are quite a few enhancements made to SharePoint Designer 2010.  This is truly a Enterprise tool now with some great improvements.  Here are some of the highlights…

  • Ribbon – As with everything else 2010 related, SPD now has the ribbon when editing.  For some this is good news, others, not so much.  personally, I like the ribbon interface and am happy to have it.
  • UI improvements – there are quite a few UI improvements, for example, when creating a workflow, the actions now use auto-complete to get you to the action faster ( Ex:  type “ema” and you will see the option of “Email”
    • Email Activity – You now get a real HTML editor when you use the ‘email’ action to send an email out.
  • External Content Types – Allows you to design connections to external data sources.  You can even create the full CRUD ( Create, Read, Update, Delete) interfaces.  Then the content is renders in SharePoint lists for users to interact with.  Very powerful! 
    • For the ITPros – You can manage the ECT via Central Administrator so you can control what can be accessed.
  • Improved Workflows – not only are there more actions, but the you can create the workflows by importing Visio 2010 diagrams!
    • but wait… there’s more… you can then export your SPD workflow as a WSP and open it in Visual Studio 2010 for more detailed tweaking! 
    • Still more…  because the workflows are now solution packages, they can be reusable, meaning they are no longer tied to one list, they can be associated to other lists as well.
    • Site Workflows – You can now create workflows for events at the site level, such as deleting a list or library!
  • XSLTListView – the new list view/Data View web part – gives you the power of the DVWP for rendering your list information.  if you are an XSLT wizard, you will be able to do a lot with this new web part!
  • Site permissions – Managing site permissions is improved so it is easier now.  Some say easier to do in SPD than in the browser now.  🙂
  • Site Templates – Now you can save your site templates as WSP’s instead of STP’s!  Very nice!!

There is much more to come, so stay tuned!

UPDATE!!!!  – Here is a link to the product teams post giving you a real nice into to SharePoint Designer

http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepointdesigner/archive/2009/11/02/sharepoint-designer-2010-new-shell-tour.aspx

 

Brian

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SharePoint 2010, web parts and you…

Posted by Brian Gough on October 24, 2009

Well SharePoint Conference 2009 is over and man there is a lot of SP 2010 information being released. I already have a long list of items to blog on to keep you as informed as I can.

In a previous posting I touched on one means of creating SharePoint web parts using Visual Studio 2010 based on an article by Steve Fox, VS 2010 – disappointment.

Everything in that article still holds true an my opinion has not changed, but I did want to give you more info on VS2010.

There will basically be two “types” of SP web parts, “Visual Web parts” and “Standard Web Parts”.  Visual web parts are with Steve Fox describes, in which you create a web user control ( .ascx ), wrap SP code around it and have it deployed as a web part.   This is the only way to use VISUAL studio’s drag-and-drop process for creating “web parts”.

You will still have the ability to create “standard web parts” by manually writing the code for each form control ( labels, buttons, etc.. ) just like you have had to for every previous version of Studio.

Its not all bad though as Visual Studio is SharePoint aware now so we will even have a server explorer that will show us all the SharePoint members for the site you connect to.

VS has improved on the process for creating WSP’s for deploying your solutions.  Packaging solutions and adding event handles has improved greatly as well.  This is a greatly improved process over VS2007.

So, there are a lot of very nice changes in VS2010 that will make developing for SP2010 a much smoother process for most of what you may want to create.  For some of your more complex web parts though, you are not going to see much improvement I’m afraid.

Also, keep in mind that VS2010 improved process for creating “Visual Web parts” and and much of its other “improvements” can only be used for developing against SP2010.  You ca use VS2010 to create web parts and code for SP2007, you just wont be able to use the new and improved capabilities. Another fail in my opinion.

In spite of the areas I call “fails” there is  a lot to like about the development story for SP2010 and VS2010.

More to come so stay tuned!

Brian

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The SharePoint 2010 spigot is open and flowing!

Posted by Brian Gough on October 19, 2009

I have been watching the Live stream of the key notes et al from SPC09 and made note of a few things…

Here are some of the announcements about the 2010 products….

*The public beta of SharePoint 2010 will be available in November.  The beta for Visual Studio 2010 is available from MSDN now.  They are planning the RTM to be released “first half of year 2010”. 
*No word yet on when SharePoint Designer beta will be available.  however, Designer is going to be way more powerful this time and the WSP solutions created in Designer can be opened and worked on in Studio 2010 for even more detailed customizing.

*Keep in mind that Visual Studio 2010’s new features for SharePoint will only work on SharePoint 2010!  you can still use Visual Studio 2010 to work on MOSS solutions, but the “new stuff” will not be available to you.

*Windows Vista and Windows 7 can be used as SharePoint development platforms!!  Wahoo!
  You may still want to use virtuals though if you want to keep different builds available for clients of testing.

*The ribbon is everywhere in 2010.  if you do not like the ribbon, this is not good news for you, if you do like the ribbon, you will be happy as you will see if in all Office 2010 products now.

*WSS is called SharePoint Foundation so remember that when you do other searches.

*LINQ is going to be in widespread use in SharePoint but CAML will still  be available as well.

*There will be full standards support for REST, XHTML, XSTL, WCAG, etc…

* New list type called ‘External Lists’ will allow you to do two-way interaction with external data sources!  Way cool!

*Better solutions for true ‘Internet’ sites suing Internet Server.  No word on the cost for this though.

This is going to be a great release of this product!  The improvements from 2007 to 2010 are awesome for Admins on down to end users and Power users!

This is all I can say for now, but I will add more as I get it!  The flood gates are open!

Brian

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Custom Forms – Role trimming the columns

Posted by Brian Gough on October 12, 2009

On Saturday October 10th, I conducted a Hands-On-Lab for creating custom display and edit forms using SharePoint Designer 2007. This Lab was part of the Enterprise Developers Guild’s 9th Code Camp!

It was a great turn out. We had 234 attendees, and ran 9 tracks of excellent content! Thanks to our sponsors, Code Camp Sponsors, every attendee was able to take home a book, and they had a nice eco-friendly bag from Wrox press to carry it in!

My lab ran for 1 hour so I was not able to cover the steps for role trimming what columns are displayed on your custom forms. You can find information about how to do this by using the links below…

Screen Cast by Laura Rodgers – http://www.endusersharepoint.com/2009/09/17/custom-form-edit-fields-based-on-permission-levels-in-sharepoint-screencast/

Laura Rodgers’ blog on the topic – http://sharepoint911.com/blogs/laura/archive/2009/01/24/displaying-sharepoint-fields-by-permission-level.aspx

Ian Morrish’s Blog – http://www.wssdemo.com/Blog/archive/2007/08/04/sharepoint-data-view-conditional-formatting-based-on-user-permissions.aspx

 

I will be presenting on how to create custom forms at SharePoint Saturday in Raleigh, NC on November 7th. So if you did not make it to the Guild Code Camp, try to make it to SharePoint Saturday!

 

See you around the community!

Brian Gough

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VS 2010 – disappointment

Posted by Brian Gough on October 1, 2009

I just read through the blog post from Steve Fox, http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ee309510.aspx, where he shows what SharePoint web part development will be like in VS 2010.  I have to say I am rather disappointed.

What it boils down to is that instead of doing it right, MS has decided to integrate a solution created By Jan Tielens called a ‘Smart Part’. http://weblogs.asp.net/jan/archive/2005/02/17/375139.aspx.  This allows you to create a Web User Control ( .ascx ) and wrap it with code to be rendered in SharePoint as a web part.  This technology has been available for years and has it’s place in the SharePoint space, but it is NOT a real SharePoint web part.

Jan, I hope you are getting a big paycheck from MS for taking what you created and building it into VS!

The “purists” in the community will often recommend against simply wrapping a .ascx control, recommending instead that you learn the correct and proper way to develop true SharePoint web parts, as they give you much more power and control.

One of the main areas that Steve’s article does not cover is how they will be adding custom properties and custom tool panes using this approach.  These are very common practices in SharePoint web parts and is a big part of what makes SharePoint so versatile and powerful.   

It has always amazed me that Microsoft never got two of its flagship products ( Visual Studio and SharePoint ) to talk to each other properly.  I was really hoping that this newest version of Visual Studio would finally get it right and allow actual “visual” development to create true and robust web parts for SharePoint. But, alas, once again they fall rather short. 

It’s not all bad news though.  Apparently VS 2010 does provide you with some better integration with SharePoint by exposing the SharePoint objects inside Studio. So now we can see the lists/libs and get better exposure to the object model.  That’s nice.  Thanks for that.

It will be interesting in the near future to see what skills a person has when they call themselves a “SharePoint Developer”.  Especially when the “old guard” bumps heads with the “newbies” that surely will be sprouting up as a result of this release. 

I look forward to the fireworks!  I love a good show!!  🙂

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